You’ve said yes to your new fiancé and now it’s time to start looking for the perfect gown! But where should you begin? Some little girls spend their days dreaming of what they’ll wear on their wedding day. Others don’t begin to think about wedding gowns until the engagement ring slips on their finger. Either way, every bride has her own taste and feeling beautiful on your wedding day is the most important factor. Inspiration… It can be found in many places. Many brides use designer websites and Pinterest to help collect photos of gowns they love. It’s a great starting point to help narrow down your personal style. Having a collection of photos can really help a bridal consultant understand the look you’d like to achieve. Color… White is no longer the norm. It used to be that most bridal gowns worn were white. In recent years, color has become all the rage. Designers offer colors from ivory and champagne to blue or even black. It’s really become possible for a bride to incorporate her own love of color right into her dress. Also, the option of changing a gown’s color can sometimes change its entire look. Lace textures often come to life when a contrasting color is chosen for the lining. Fit… Not everyone is built like a mannequin. Ball gown, A-line, Mermaid, and Fit & Flare and just a few of the different terms you’ll hear when talking about the fit of a gown. (Read our article on Fitting for Your Body Type.) You’ll be surprised to learn that a fit you never thought would look right on you, can actually look amazing! Don’t be afraid to show off your curves if you want to feel sexy on your wedding day. Remember that most bridal gowns come in pattern sizes so you’ll need to leave some room in your dress budget for alterations. It’s always better to have your gown taken in than have it run too small. Serencia by Maggie Sottero Aracella by Maggie Sottero 3176 by Julietta by Mori Lee Timing… Don’t wait too long to order. Most bridal salons suggest that you order your gown anywhere from 6-12 months in advance. Bridal gown designers usually won’t start production on a gown until it is ordered. There are cases where designers keep more popular gowns in regular production so you are able to get it sooner. Don’t count on that though. The last thing you want to do is fall in love with a dress that you can’t get in time. Shopping… Don’t buy online. When getting ready to shop for your bridal gown, make sure you visit local bridal salons. The consultants are well versed in the designers they carry and will help find what suits you best. Also, make sure you call ahead to schedule an appointment. Not all salons require appointments, but you’re sure to get more attentive service if they know you are coming. Opinions… Everyone has one. As you begin to narrow down your favorite gowns you’ll need the opinions you value the most. If possible, try to avoid having a large group at your first bridal appointments. When too many opinions come into the mix you can start to lose your own vision. Remember, how you feel in your dress is the most important. When you’ve gotten down to your top two or three favorites, schedule a separate appointment. Then you can ask for the larger group to come celebrate the final decision with you.